Two-time cancer survivor James Golding has set his sights on becoming the first British cyclist to win Race Across America

For 42 years, Race Across America (RAAM) has been challenging ultra-cyclists from around the globe to push their physical and mental limits to the farthest reaches. It’s the world’s toughest cycling race covering 3,100 miles from the West to East coast of America through 12 states, climbing over 54,000m through the Sierra, Rocky and Appalachian mountains, reaching altitudes of 3,300m with temperatures ranging from freezing to an incredible 50+ degrees in the desert.

This June: James Golding aims to complete and ultimately win the race between 8 and 9 days. In 42 editions no British rider has ever won this race and less than 300 global athletes have officially completed it within the time cut. Some might say his plan is bold, but his confidence is born from experience, vision, commitment, belief, teamwork and most of all, reflection. This challenge is part of his continued work to raise vital funds for Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Cancer Unit.

James has been diagnosed with cancer twice, once in 2008 and again in 2011, once being given less than a 5% chance of survival. He has also survived being hit by a truck and hospitalised whilst on a 3,500-mile charity cycle ride across America. Twelve years since his first diagnosis, James has come to believe anything is possible, saying:

“ I try to follow the mindset that we are all capable of achieving anything we put our minds to. Shortly after re-learning to walk following my cancer treatment, I discovered cycling. Since then, I have gone on to cycle across countries and continents and compete in over 50 multi-day events. I am the first British person to hold the Guinness Seven Day World record for distance cycled. I don’t consider hard work on a bike as suffering. I know what suffering really is and no matter how hard it gets or how much I go through, I know there’s an end. It’s not suffering, there’s a goal, a finish and no matter what, I will get there.”

This is not James’ first attempt to win RAAM. After competing in 2022 as one of the favorites to win, after just 24 hours of the race, he was taken to hospital where he was diagnosed with Covid and forced to withdraw. The disappointment was tough but time off the bike gave him hindsight, perspective, and a new passion for the event. In May 2023 he returned to racing and finished fourth in the European Championships, which was the start of his journey to prepare for this year’s RAAM.

James acknowledges that he could not take on these challenges without his driven and enthusiastic team and sponsors, including long-standing support from Babble and TREK over the last ten years and recently from Quinta do Lago resort. James has also teamed up with Barr Ultra, a community that supports ultra-cyclists, led by fellow ultra-cyclist and RAAM Winner, Joe Barr.

For James and his team, it’s not just about winning RAAM, as the event has also become a huge platform for racers to raise awareness and money for charities of their choice. Over the past ten years, James has raised over £4 million for different charities. James is also one of the founding members of an event called the Velodrome Challenge on behalf of Great Ormond Street Hospital, which since its inception in 2018 has now raised more than £1.7 million pounds. This year James is increasing his involvement with GOSH by raising money for them during RAAM.

James has also launched a corporate challenge event called The RAAM Challenge which will run alongside the first three days of Race Across America. He has recruited 10 global organisations to bring together their staff who will work in a relay using Wattbike in their offices and a virtual platform to race James and each other over the first three days whilst also raising funds for the new Great Ormond Street Hospital–Children’s Cancer Centre. Companies committed to the event include Morgan Stanley, Willkie Farr, Simmons & Simmons, Freshfields, DAS Business Furniture, Gordon Ramsey Restaurants, Amplify Me and Fairstone Ireland.

Reaching his goal of winning Race Across America and the Ultra Cycling World Cup in 2024 whilst raising vital funds for Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital is a huge undertaking. It takes an extensive team of people both on and off the bike who can dedicate themselves with unwavering support, as well as a substantial amount of financial resources. James and the team are hugely thankful for the support they have received after taking the session to return to RAAM this year.

Follow James’ journey on social media: @jimmythelink

Head to James’ fundraising link:

Find out more about The GOSH RAAM Challenge here